July 31, 2016
On our move up to Boone, we had a diaper “situation” that needed immediate attention and we had to stop at THE next gas station. On the other side of the gas pump was a rough looking biker dude. He called over to Greg to come help him because he was having trouble seeing the gas pump through his glasses (?!) so Greg helped him and began small talking. With James in my arms I walked over, and being a former biker chick myself I can appreciate a little biker interaction. He told us stories about his children and grandchildren and his girlfriend, and that his health is failing and he’s struggling with smoking addiction. So we asked if we could pray for him and he said yes, and right there at the gas pump we prayed for him in Jesus’ name and then he prayed for us too! His prayer was beautiful and heartfelt; he was a diamond in the rough and a reminder to keep our hearts and eyes open to receive God’s love and blessing even in the unexpected. We parted ways saying “See ya in Heaven!” We pray that we will see ol’ Johnny again!
A few months back, no sooner than receiving God’s call to ministry with Ratio Christi at Appalachian State, did we begin to experience much testing and trials. We have been faced with various sicknesses/allergies, spider and severe insect bites, general cloudy headedness and classic spiritual warfare as we began the preparation for the move. On top of that our apartment lease ended a few weeks sooner than our house was ready to move into, leaving all our personal belongings scattered in three separate locations while we stayed with family. The transmission on our family vehicle went out unexpectedly. We had to move our things in and out of multiple storage facilities. At times we felt depressed and even discouraged yet we have been clinging on to God’s word that we are to consider it joy when faced with trials of various kinds. God has remained faithful to us and continues to give us encouragement at our lowest points when we feel ready to just give up. One night after some particularly bad news about a door that was closing that we had many hopes for, God blessed us with three new supporters all in one night. We remember that all things work together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his will, and must not forget exactly what our calling is: to be a light in the darkness and minister to the needs of the students at Appalachian State University.
We must stop and look past the long list of trials, and look at a MUCH longer list of God’s mercies! God continues to provide help in our time of need and has built our endurance with every last trial that we have encountered. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
We have been unpacking and settling into our new little cabin on a precious mountain outside of Boone… We are actually just over the Tennessee state line, about 25 minutes from campus where we absolutely can not wait to begin the campus ministry. A friend of ours who is a rising freshman at App state told us about a sad reality at her freshmen orientation; the students and parents were welcomed all together and then students were split apart from the parents and shown multiple presentations about being “accepting and welcoming” to particularly immoral behaviors that those 18 year olds should not have had to witness on day one of college, or ever. Welcome to the world, guys. And what a brutal awakening many of those kids must have had, to see those things promoted. But, the enemy will do everything to wedge in and distract, and what easy targets are those of weak or no faith. We, too, have been faced with discouraging and distracting situations where we anticipated support that fell through for one reason or another, or any of the many other trials, which remind us to put our faith and hope in God alone and not in man and to keep our eyes on The Prize and goal here: to reach the lost and make strong and faithful disciples of Jesus Christ during our fleeting and precious time on Earth.
On a lighter note! Kind of? The Lord has been particularly pressing in my heart the fact that these days with my tiny tots are also fleeting, and lately I’ve so been wishing time would just stand absolutely still. It’s in the sweet moments after bedtime, during bedtime story and milk time, in the quiet dusk moments with the ceiling fans gently blowing their soft sweet hair and the crickets singing a lullaby through the open windows that my heart just wants to leap out of my chest and all I can do is praise our Heavenly Father and read another page of Mickey’s Picnic in the Woods. Children absolutely are a heritage from the Lord, like arrows in the hands of a warrior and SO so blessed are we to have them in our “quiver!” With our little arrows literally in tow we are so anxious to begin the ministry work here!!!!
To those of you who have launched us and have been supporting us on our journey so far, we thank you fervently for your prayers and partnership. We will keep you posted as things progress toward getting Ratio Christi at App State going full speed ahead! Until then….. let’s all remember to keep our eyes on The Prize and look past the temporal and make the most of the invaluable gift of time!!!!!!!!